Miami University to extend no SAT, ACT admission option into 2026

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A historic change in Miami University’s admission policy — forced in part by the sweeping disruptions of COVID-19 in 2020 and later — is being extended into 2026, school officials said Tuesday.

Freshmen and transfer applicants will continue to have a “test optional” admission process through if they choose to ask Miami officials not to consider their SAT and ACT test scores as they are evaluated for possible enrollment.

Also, applicants for merit scholarships and honors selections will also have the test optional discretion through spring 2026, said Miami officials.

And the change could later be made permanent, they said.

The pandemic’s onset in March 2020 saw the shuttering of college and K-12 live classes across the nation, followed by a series of live classroom instruction disruptions in the 2020-2021 and for parts of 2021-2022 school years.

Alecia Lipton, spokeswoman for Miami, said: “In 2020 the university opted to not require the ACT and SAT as the pandemic resulted in tests being cancelled throughout the country.”

Miami officials then changed its long-standing policy of weighing SAT and ACT scores for incoming freshmen and transfer students in fall 2021 and have maintained the alteration since.

“Since Miami has been test optional, about 50 percent of our applicants have asked us to use an ACT or SAT score in our evaluation of their application,” said Bethany Perkins, Miami University director of admission.

“We continue to enroll extremely accomplished students, and the academic profile of each new class continues to be among the best of all Ohio public universities.”

Under three academic years of test-optional admission policy, the first two classes, admitted for fall 2021 and fall 2022, were the most academically accomplished in Miami’s history, holding average GPAs of 3.87 and 3.91, respectively. And since the fall 2020 cycle, applications have increased 24.7%.

Miami’s evaluation of prospective student applications will continue to consider factors such as grades, GPA and strength of curriculum, application essays, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, talent, and personal background, among other factors, said school officials.

“A test score has never been the only factor Miami’s admission committee considers in application evaluation, and it certainly isn’t the most important factor,” Perkins said. “There are much better predictors of college success such as the strength of a student’s curriculum and achievements in high school courses.”

A test score also will not be required for applicants to be considered for merit scholarships or admission to competitive programs such as the Honors College, the Farmer School of Business, or Nursing. Students, however, who want test scores to be considered will still have that option.

At Miami, all applications are evaluated both to determine whether students are academically prepared and to gauge how the applicant might contribute to their academic program and the community overall. With competitive programs, how a student may contribute to the community becomes a more important factor in admission decisions, said Miami officials.

Brent Shock, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, said: “The extension of our test-optional policy will allow us to evaluate the outcomes of Miami University’s Class of 2025 before deciding whether the university should be test optional permanently.”

“Analysis of graduate data, combined with the student retention and success data we’re already evaluating, will enable us to make a well-informed decision based on the best interests of future students,” said Shock.

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